Serums can cause intense confusion. Should they be oily, gel-like or watery? Do they go under or over moisturiser? Why do they moisturise if they’re not a moisturiser? But this we know with absolute certainty – serums make your skin sing.
What is a serum anyway?
A serum is a highly concentrated water-based skincare product that delivers powerful actives deep into the skin. There you have it. Simple right?
Is that why my serum is runny?
Precisely. Your serum should always be thin because that’s what helps it penetrate. Serums contain high doses of small-molecule, active ingredients without added fillers, emollients or thickeners so that they can penetrate right down to the layers of skin that need a boost. What makes it all so confusing is that some products are labelled a serum when they are in fact a facial oil (true serums are always water-based, not oil-based, because an oil is too heavy to penetrate properly).
Do all serums work the same way?
Yes, but no, because the actives in your serum can differ depending on your skin concern. If ageing is your main concern, then a high quality serum should contain antioxidants, peptides and cell-regenerators in higher doses than a moisturiser so that your skin is getting a targeted boost of these active ingredients.
I don’t want to look my age! What serum should I use?
Here’s exactly what you need in a serum if you’re concerned about ageing: vitamin C to banish fine lines and pigmentation; hyaluronic acid to plump up the skin with an intense moisture boost (or better yet, an ingredient like Hyanify™ that helps your skin make its own natural hyaluronic acid); and a peptide like Uplevity™ that can regenerate the collagen and elastin in your skin (we love the serious lifting effect this creates!).
So how do I apply serum?
The key is not to waste any precious product. Cup your hand and keep your fingers tightly together, then apply one pump of serum onto the palm of your hand. Rub your palms together, then massage over the entire face in small, circular motions. It’s OK to apply serum around the eye area but avoid applying it on the eyelids (product can slide and make your pretty peepers feel a tad uncomfortable). You really only need one small pump of serum for your whole face because the ingredients are concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
Does serum go under or over moisturiser?
A true serum always goes under moisturiser. Think of your skin like a sponge – it will soak up a water-based serum in seconds and there should be no sticky residue left on the skin. You’ll still need to apply moisturiser over serum because it serves a different purpose. Moisturiser creates a protective layer on the surface of the skin, like a seal, to prevent moisture escaping. If you try to apply a water-based serum over your moisturiser, you’re wasting your time, as it won’t penetrate. If you’re a fan of face oils, they should always be applied after moisturiser because they are heavier than moisturiser.
How often should I use a serum?
Twice a day after cleansing and before moisturising will give you optimal results, but we recommend reading the instructions on the product label (some serums should only be used at night as they may contain ingredients that make skin sun sensitive). We highly recommend choosing a serum that is deemed suitable for all skin types, including sensitive – gentle, effective ingredients that plump up and smooth out your skin tone is your ticket to glowing skin without risking irritation.
Do serums expire faster?Nope – science has helped us devise effective ways of stabilising ingredients like vitamin C that, without modern skincare technology, used to oxidise quickly once the product was opened. Having said that, all skincare products should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within 6 months of opening. If you’re applying serum daily you’ll empty the bottle before it expires anyway and, trust us, your skin will be much happier for it.